“ To bring together the records of the past and to house them in a building where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain judgment in creating their own future.”
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1941
FDR lays the cornerstone for his Presidential Library in Hyde Park, NY in November 1939. The success of the Roosevelt Library paved the way for the enactment of the Presidential Libraries Act of 1955.
slave ship manifests and the Emancipation Proclamation;
captured German records and the Japanese surrender documents from World War II;
Indian treaties making transitory promises; and a richly bound document bearing the bold signature "Bonaparte"—the Louisiana Purchase Treaty that doubled the territory of the young republic.
In this letter to the Continental Congress, General George Washington passed along information he received from a sailor. It was believed that British General William Howe was sending people out from Boston who had been deliberately infected with smallpox, so that they might pass on the disease to Americans in the surrounding area. Washington believed this to be a form of bioterrorism. 1775… ARC ID 824626
Manifest of Slaves for the Schooner Charles , July 4, 1842. Slave Manifests…
The Emancipation Proclamation January 1, 1863 ARC ID 299998
General Dwight D, Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, accompanied by Gen. Omar N. Bradley, and Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., inspects art treasures stolen by Germans and hidden in a Salt Mine in Germany, April 12, 1945. ARC ID 531272 Captured German Records…
ARC ID 520694 General Douglas MacArthur signs as Supreme Allied Commander during formal surrender ceremonies on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, September 2, 1945. Japanese Surrender Documents…
Indian treaties making transitory promises… Land granted to Choctaw Indian, Ha-cubbe by President James K. Polk per the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, December 6, 1845.
The Louisiana Purchase The Louisiana Purchase consists of three separate agreements between the United States and France: a treaty of cession and two agreements providing for the exchange of monies in the transaction. This item is the French exchange copy of the agreement providing for the payment of 60 million francs by the United States to France. It was signed by the future Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his Foreign Minister, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord. ARC ID 299807
NARA keeps only those Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year.
All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens.
NARA’s Holdings Include: ● 2.9 million cubic feet of paper records (more than 10 billion pieces of paper!) ● Almost 35 million still pictures and posters ● 18 million aerial photographs ● 5 million maps ● 93,000 motion pictures ● More than 207,000 sound and video recordings Laid side to side our original records would circle the Earth 57 times!! The Southwest Region alone holds 107,000 cubic feet of records.